Once a thief has key pieces of your personal identifying information, they can use it to accomplish any number of things. But what we've discovered is that these criminals, more often than not, are using your information simply for monetary gain.
"There's not a week that goes by that you don't see emails that seem to come from a customer, that you know is not from that customer but looks like it's coming from their email," said Susan Barrett Senior Vice President of the Little Bank. "It's just an attempt to try and get their confidential information"
A social security number is the Holy Grail...the skeleton key if you will...it opens up everything for an id thief. But if it's just quick cash they're after, all it takes is a debit or credit number.
"We've become asleep at the wheel, if you might. We so used to using technology, we're comfortable with it," said Barrett. "We're more comfortable with people who may be calling us on the phone looking for information. We don't ask or think why are they calling me? Why are they asking for this information? Should they be calling me?"
Long gone are days when vaults like this one were your only source of security for both your money and information at your local bank. With the advent of the internet and all the online transactions that take place each and every day, banks have had to adapt to better protect you and your money
Barrett also said, "As much as customers do not like it, passwords and having strong password security is one of the biggest things that can help protect you."
She added that, "We also have what's called multi-factor authentication, which includes behind the scenes monitoring of activity on the account. Where are they signing on from? The time of day they're signing on and the location. If it's a transaction that looks suspicious, asking them additional security questions"
Debit card vs. credit card. Debit cards are convenient in that when you use it for a transaction, the money is immediately withdrawn from your checking account. The downside, that's exactly what will happen when thieves get a hold of that number...they'll suck your account dry. You have greater protection with a credit card.
"Obviously with a credit card it's not immediately coming out of your account," said Barrett. "That's the safest protection for you because you can dispute the transaction with the credit card issuer before you have actually been harmed from a financial prospective."
Remember, your bank will never ask you for your personal information in an email or text for that matter. Id and account numbers should never be communicated that way. Notify your bank immediately if you receive any email or text that appears to be from them and asking for that type of information
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